21 Rare And Exotic Dogs Breeds You May Not Have Heard Of

From living dreadlocked mop dogs to a dogs with a natural mohawk, we’ve assembled the craziest list of dog breeds to ever exist.

1. Azawakh

Aza what? Ever wanted to make people at the dog park instantly regret asking, “What kind of dog is that?” Then you might want to look into these African dogs. The Azawakh is a sighthound that is very rare outside of it’s West African homeland. Known for its agile and feline-like gait,  the Azawakh are timid by nature, but gentle and affectionate once they get to know you.  It is used for hunting gazelles and other fleet animals of the African deserts.

2. Catalburun

Catalburun means “fork nose” in Turkish. The jury is out on whether having cutlery for a nose may or may not have any butt-sniffing advantages.

3. Puli

Why is my mop walking around?

4. Mudi

They may be a Mudi, but don’t think they’re moody! This mid-sized Hungarian herding dog is active and friendly with a thick, curly coat and smooth face. While they are still rare in the US, Mudi are gaining popularity with their versatile, energetic attitudes.

5. Bergamasco Sheepdog

That coat though… you’d never need to buy a rug again. Just have your dog lie down in strategic places around the house for some stylish floor decoration.

6. Borzoi

Borzois (or Russian Wolfhounds) are gorgeous, but they also look like an artist attempted to paint a dog and got to the nose and just decided… “ehhhh close enough.” Ideal for boopin’, though.

7. Chinook

So rare that most image searches just bring up pictures of helicopters, the Chinook apparently prefers sledding to flying.

8. Neapolitan Mastiff

THEM WRINKLES! They go on and on and ONNNNNN. Historically bred to fight alongside the Romans wearing body armor and blades so they could run under and disembowel enemy horses, the Neapolitan Mastiff was almost extinct by the end of WWII.

After an Italian painter set up a kennel to protect the enormous pups and bred them with English Mastiffs to diversify the bloodline, the Neapolitan Mastiff has evolved as a breed, and one even appeared as Hagrid’s dog, Fang, in the Harry Potter movies!

9. Norwegian Lundehund

The description of the Norwegian Lundehund sounds like something from Greek mythology—six fully functioning toes, extra paw pads, “elastic neck,” ears that fold shut, flexible shoulders, cliff-climbers. Originally used in Norway to hunt for Puffins, the Lundehund also has the ability to tip its head backward to touch its backbone.

10. Bedlington Terrier

I can’t decide if these dogs look more like my grandma or a llama. It’s a llama grandma.

11. Catahoula Leopard Dog

Not to be confused with the Catalina Wine Mixer, these dogs are serious workers but playful at home. Wait… that sounds like someone who would go to the Catalina Wine Mixer! Prized by Native Americans for their incredible hunting abilities, these pups have been favorites of famous hunters like Teddy Roosevelt. The Catahoula Leopard Dog is named after the Catahoula Parish in Louisiana, where the breed originated.

12. Peruvian Inca Orchid

Two words: Natural mohawk.

13. Lagotto Romagnolo

These guys from Medieval Times are the world’s oldest water retriever and bonafide truffle hunters. That seems like an oddly specific job, but someone’s gotta find the truffles for our truffle fries.

14. LowChen

These pups look like a magic trick gone into another dimension. Or if someone mashed together a terrier with a Chinese Crested. Either way, the laws of dog breed physics are being challenged here.

15. Otterhound

Y’all, these cuties are endangered and more rare than a giant panda! They were originally bred to hunt otters because of their amazing ability to track scents underwater.

16. Xoloitzcuintli

Similar to the Peruvian Inca Orchid, just with less hair, and the hardest dog breed name I have ever had to Google. You thought I just started mashing the keyboard and making these up now, didn’t you? Pronounced Sho-lo-eets-quint-lee, the Xoloitzcuintli is usually referred to as the “Mexican Hairless Dog” or just “Xolo.”

The breed is so old, it was actually worshiped by the Aztecs. Because many Americans are not familiar with Xolo pups, it has been mistaken for the mythological Chupacabra along the US border states. The Xoloitzcuintli has not been inbred over the years, and is a healthy, hardy dog that only requires a bit of moisturizer, sunscreen, and regular bathing.

17. Caucasian Ovcharka

These absolute units just seem too big to exist, and yet they just seem like genuinely nice people… I mean dogs.

18. Carolina Dog

These good boys are some of the real OGs of the dog world. Also known as the “American Dingo,” Carolina Dogs are thought to be the oldest canine species in North America, appearing on rock paintings by Native Americans. They actually share DNA with Australian Dingos and New Guinea Singing Dogs! Even though the breed has been domesticated, there are wild pups still roaming around.

19. Thai Ridgeback

More mohawks! Similar to the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Thai Ridgeback pup has a line of hair growing in the opposite direction along the spine. These strong-willed, powerful pups are used as livestock guardians in their Asian home.

20. Pachón Navarro

With a nose like the double barrels of a shotgun and similar to the Catalburun of Turkey, the Pachón Navarro is an extremely rare Spanish hunting dog that was once believed to have superior sniffing skills. Now breeders know that the Pachón Navarro’s nose is just cosmetically different, they don’t offer any advantage over a regular pup nose other than extra surface area to boop!

21.  Tibetan Mastiff

What an absolute behemoth of bear hugs! The Tibetan Mastiff is a large, fearless dog traditionally bred to guard herds, flocks, families, and entire villages. One of the massive fluffy pups was also sold in 2014 in China for nearly $2 million, and became the most expensive dog ever sold.

Marissa Rubenstein

2 months ago

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